The Memories in a Pair of Socks

I put these socks on tonight, because the only place to work undisturbed on my history homework was my chilly attic bedroom. Moments after I had slipped on the blue and yellow/grayish wool-blends, I felt the cold, hard tile of an empty church hallway beneath my feet. The picture in my mind was of a weekend retreat, the third of five that were part of a youth leadership training program. I, of course, have vivid memories of all five retreats, but for some reason these socks take me back to that January weekend: The snowball fight. The warm, carpeted floor of the room hung with Monets. The girl I lost (not that I ever actually had her). The cold, hard tile of that hallway.

If I looked through my sock drawer, I am sure that I would find many more stories, many more places. I know, for instance, that there are some mottled gray wools with holes that could reminisce about cold-weather camping trips with Boy Scout Troop 10. They might also tell of the times they served to replace the ripped cloth boots from my roller blades. Perhaps, though, they would just complain about being neglected of late, in favor of the two newer pairs of softer, less itchy wool-blends; the ones that talk of churches, and also speak of sandals. Or maybe they would fault the black, thick dress wools with the elastic all stretched out (they have tales to tell about frigid marching band shows with the cuffs of the flannel pants I wore under my uniform tucked in so they wouldn’t show) for being part of what has kept me from camping and skating for the last four years.

I suppose it is possible that there may be, somewhere in this house, some white cotton tubes with colored bands around their tops that remember back nine or ten years to when I thought that it was still in style to wear them stretched all the way up my calves. I’m not sure why I continued to wear them that way even after my classmates informed me that plain whites bunched around the ankles were much more fashionable. I am also not sure if I will ever wear my old, gray wools again. Nor am I sure why this pair I am wearing right now wants so desperately to be roaming the cold hallways of a church late at night. I am, however, sure of one thing: in the hour that it has taken me to write this, I have remembered much that I had forgotten, and even learned a little about myself, and it is all thanks to my socks.

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